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about Ettore Sottsass

ETTORE SOTTSASS (1907 – 2007)

Ettore Sottsass was born in Innsbruck, Austria on Sptember14, 1917. Ettore Sottsass: “Good design is like the possibility to fly to the moon. Only a few will really achieve that, but the awareness that this possibility exists has changed the lives of millions of people.” Ettore Sottsass never flew to the moon but he definitely took the chance to make good design. In 1935 Ettore Sottsass started to study at the Polytechnic in Turin, Italy. Two years later he graduated successfully.

Ettore Sottsass dedicated his works to the “anti-design“: the functional form was not the top priority for Sottsass – he created objects that are lovely to look at, with emotions, feelings and a high memorability. That is what made him famous all over the world when he was still alive and it was the reason for exhibitions of his life’s work at the Biennale in Venice in1976, at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 1994 and at the Design Museum in London in 2007.  

Ettore Sottsass´ „Olivetti Valentine“ is a type writer that Sottsass designed in 1968 and is probably one of his most well-known designs but definitely still one of the most famous design classics in general.



Sottsass´ furniture designs impress with their forms and colors which please one’s eye and do not follow the ideas of functional forms: in 1980 Sotsass designed the bookshelf “Carlton“ which does not really make it easier to organize one’s personal library but in return fascinates with lots of different bright colors and impractical forms which are absolutely typical for Ettore Sotsass.

In 1981 Ettore Sottsass founded the group “Memphis-Design“: a cooperation of young designers and artists. Amongst them were artists like Matteo Thun, Arata Isozaki and Hans Hollein. With their imaginative, creative forms, colors and surfaces Ettore Sotsass Memphis objects invite you to use the furniture without giving special emphasis to the mere functionality of the chairs, tables etc.  



Ettore Sotsass died from influenza in his apartment in Milan on New Years Eve 2007.